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#18 - JRL 7007
Chronicle of Higher Education
January 10, 2003
Half a Million Reasons to Leave Harvard

BIG APPLE BOUND? Less than a year after losing the star economist Jeffrey D. Sachs to Columbia University, Harvard University may be on the verge of saying goodbye to another top economist. While Columbia is paying a reported $300,000 for Mr. Sachs, the business school at New York University is trying to lure Andrei Shleifer with an offer of nearly $500,000.

David K. Backus, vice dean of NYU's Leonard N. Stern School of Business, confirms that the school is trying to recruit Mr. Shleifer, a 41-year-old economist and protg of Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers. In 1999, Mr. Shleifer won the American Economics Association's John Bates Clark Medal, which honors the country's most outstanding economists under 40.

"We're always looking for good people," says Mr. Backus. "Andrei is an absolutely first-rate scholar."

According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Mr. Shleifer, who is on leave from Harvard this year, has been spending time in the Stern school's finance department over the last several months, giving lectures and talking to faculty members. His decision may hinge as much on lifestyle concernsNew York City vs. Cambridge -- as on money, according to this source. Mr. Shleifer did not respond to telephone calls or e-mail messages.

Mr. Shleifer has been a professor at Harvard since 1991 and is known for the breadth of his expertise, which spans such topics as economic reform in Russia, capital markets, and stock-price movements. He is also at the center of a $120-million civil suit the U.S. government has filed against Harvard, charging Mr. Shleifer with mismanaging federal funds while directing a Harvard program on Russian economic reform in the mid-1990s.

Mr. Shleifer has denied, through lawyers, that he did anything wrong. No one at Harvard could be reached for comment on NYU's efforts to recruit him.

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